Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Trip to the Chicken Zoo

Jackson is freaked out by--and then excited by--a real live rooster. The gawdawful racket in the background is from a cage full of 100-plus budgies between the two rooster cages.

Jackson meets a mouse. (He was sticking his finger up his nose for a while and I was desperately trying to convince him to use a tissue to blow his nose, but then I realized he was just signing mouse, LOL.)

When we went to the real zoo the other day, Jackson hopefully signed "chicken" a couple of times, but there ain't no chickens at the real zoo. 

Luckily, Los Angeles is a vast and dense place, and you can find at least a version of just about anything you care to have. To wit, there is a shop a couple miles south of downtown called the Polleria (Spanish for, roughly, "chicken store"). At the Polleria, you can buy, should you so desire, chicks, pullets, hens, roosters, ducks, ducklings, turkeys, poults, pigeons and so forth. Then, if you're hungry, you can go next door and have them slaughtered and dressed to order. So yes, I did take my toddler on a field trip to an abattoir, but let's focus on the live animals for the time being. 

I covet chickens, and it took me forever to find a local place that actually has them. (Ordering live chickens online seems to either cost a fortune or result in 12 unsexed chicks landing on your doorstep. No thanks.)

Anyway, I asked this time--the staff speaks Spanish-only for the most part but there was a bilingual teenager working today who translated--and I can get a point-of-lay pullet for $2.25 any time of year. They also sell doghouse-lookin' things that can serve as chicken houses, for the fairly reasonable price of $65-$85, but no run or egg boxes or wheels etc.

Today I merely treated the Polleria as a chicken zoo for Jackson. He got to hear what a cock-a-doodle-doo really sounds like (it sounds loud!), he got to see chicks ("BABIES!!"), hens (complete with recently laid brown eggs), ducks, pigeons, doves, ducklings, big bunnies and baby bunnies, plus fish, mice, rats, boas, pythons, lizards, tarantulas and scorpions. I really liked the scorpions, and the beautiful scary roosters, and I got an important lesson in how many FLIES live in and around a chicken house. Dear lord, going to have to keep that in mind if I want to do any future chicken-keeping. 

Anyway, I think it was a fun trip, and it's actually a lot closer to our house than the real zoo. It's usually just a straight shot down Slauson from our house, although today there was (a) construction on Slauson, and (b) a bank robbery on Florence that had all the streets closed for blocks around. That's life in the big city.

Should you live in Los Angeles and want to visit the Polleria yourself, it's technically called John's Feed and it's located at 2048 E Florence Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90001.

Visiting the Polleria yourself? Just look for the giant chili-light-wrapped chicken on the roof.
Pollos, pavos, conejos, palomas, patos, codornices; vivo y fresco.
The section where you can get flats and flats of eggs (chicken and quail) and/or have your chickens slaughtered and dressed is located around the corner from the main store, adjacent to a used car dealership.


Jenny said...

Oh my gosh, I REALLY want chickens too. You can have four hens where we live. But it gets so cold in winter here, that you need a coop that goes with it, with all of the bells and whistles. Sigh...

jengod said...

I know! I want a chicken tractor so they just devastate one section of the yard at a time, but they are SO EXPENSIVE!